Road Lily – Plant of the Week

Day Lilies growing by the highway with a yucca.

The Road Lily is so common a flower that it’s largely ignored and like other wildflowers is frequently overlooked in gardens.  But actually, it’s not a wild flower, and it’s not a lily.  Road Lily, or Orange Day Lily, is originally from Asia and was brought over with some of the first European settlers.  It’s easy to grow, hard to kill, and naturalized so throughly that many people assume it is native.  The day lily is not even a true lily, instead of growing from a bulb it has a thick mass of hardy roots.  Similar to bulbs however these can be cut, divided, and replanted in new areas.  


Day lilies are edible.  The buds can be eaten, along with the new shoots, and the blossoms can be fried much like squash blossoms.  I have never actually done this as it all looks reasonably unappealing, and fried squash blossom has always struck me as a food less satisfying than a glass of water and a lot more work.  Many people however disagree and claim that day lilies are an excellent source of vitamin A, but so are sweet taters.

Budding lilies growing along a ditch

Day lilies make a nice addition to a home flower garden as they are typically tall and bloom for several weeks or more.  Interestingly on Wikipedia it says that each blossom lasts only one day (and that is perhaps where they name “day” lily comes from).  I find this completely unbelievable, but as I’m not totally sure I’ve tied strings on the flowers blooming today.  Check back with us tomorrow to find out if it’s true.

Purple strings tied to several of today’s flowers.  We’ll see if they’re wilted tomorrow.


It is true.  Day lily flowers each only last one day!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicky says:

    We have a healthy group of these that I’ve always enjoyed. Here in KS I’ve always heard them called “ditch lilies” probably due to their adaptability. I now like the term “road lily” better as it seems to elevate their status a bit. They are very pretty & should not suffer a name just because they are so flexible.


  2. How can I kill them? I’ve tried digging them up but small ones grow back.


  3. Lorraine says:

    Can they be planted near other day lilies?


    1. I have some yellow ones near my orange and I’ve not seen them to hybridize. I’m not sure if there might be other concerns by interplanting them.


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